Dancing Like the Stars 2023 Shatters Attendance and Fundraising Records

Duneland Family YMCA’s signature fundraising event was a resounding success, raising over $165,000 to support the Y’s programs and services. The sold-out show at Blue Chip Casino Stardust Event Center on Saturday, November 4, featured nine local celebrities performing personalized choreographed dances to the cheers of 650 guests and raising awareness of the Y’s cause and mission. The event broke records for both attendance and fundraising, making it one of the most successful fundraisers in Duneland YMCA history.

This year’s theme, “The Y-Cademy Awards,” invited guests to dress for the red carpet or in support of their favorite dancer’s movie theme, which included the Barbie Movie, Space Jam, Mary Poppins, Napolean Dynamite, and more! The fundraiser also included dinner, live and silent auctions, as well as a surprise unveiling from Berglund Construction of a multi-view exterior rendering of the Future Duneland YMCA Healthy Living Campus.

The star-studded lineup included Ron Bocian (Urschel Laboratories), Taylor Chamberlain (Duneland School Corporation), Becky Clarke (Wee Care), Elizabeth Garcia (Blackrock Real Estate), Heather Hradek (Chesterton Family Dental), Katie Kutch (Duneland Y), Heather Piehl (NorthShore Health Centers), Kirk Redman (Duneland School Board), Bob Swiatek (Trinity Displays and Duneland Y Board Member). The event was hosted by Y Board Member Tiffany Bozovich (Bozovich Wellness Center) and Zack Wellsand (Wellsand Landscaping and Hardscapes), with a backstage run of the show and tech by Kevin Murry (Val’s Famous Pizza and Grinders). Opening acts included an acoustic duet from Priscilla Sabourin and Drew Stolz following a performance from the Powerhouse Senior Elite Dance Team.

“I had an amazing time. Stepping outside my comfort zone, learning a dance, and performing on stage was a thrill!” said Taylor Chamberlain, “I couldn’t have done it without my support system of family, friends, and local business sponsors. We do it for the kids and families of Duneland!”

These community leaders sought sponsorships and people’s choice votes and invited countless guests to be part of their “cheering sections,” all to entertain the crowd, help others, and win the competition! Each volunteer dancer was given dance lessons from Powerhouse Dance Company (formally Dancebizz Centre for Dance) in Chesterton. The volunteers brought everything to the stage, blowing away the crowd with outstanding performances and philanthropy.

Awards were given in appreciation of the contestants’ efforts. Becky Clarke, with dance partner Heather Olson, won the Judge’s Choice Award, honoring the best performance of the evening. This year’s volunteer judges included Jacob Lukach (Duneland School Corporation), Maura Mundell (Duneland Chamber of Commerce), and two students of the Powerhouse Dance Company. The People’s Choice Award was determined by the number of votes received by each star, which cost $5 each; Elizabeth Garcia, with dance and singing partner Johnny James, won with 1,488 votes; you do the math! Bob Swiatek won the Shining Star Award for being the top fundraiser, raising over $40,000 in sponsorships, ticket sales, and votes. The Team Spirit Award was given to Kirk Redman and his dance partner Amy Redman, who brought a sea of Pink Ladies and T-birds to rev up the excitement!

“The DLTS event committee, dancers, and volunteers poured their heart and soul into this event. I’m honored to be a part of such an incredible team, and I’m blown away by the support we received this year.” Said 2023 Event Chairperson Kelly Sieman, “The performances were phenomenal, and I’m so grateful to everyone who made this event a success!”

Duneland Y’s annual Dancing Like the Stars fundraiser has evolved over the years and proven to be a success year after year. Celebrating the 13th annual in the upcoming year, this unique event brings creativity, fun, and friendly competition to help others in the Duneland Community. All proceeds from the event benefit Duneland Y’s financial assistance program, which provides free programming and scholarships for childcare, memberships, and more to local families.

Sponsors for the evening included Platinum Sponsors: Chesterton Family Dental, H&T Electrical, NorthShore Health Centers, Trinity Displays, and Jim & Lindsay Trout. Gold Sponsors: Berglund Construction, Chesterton Feed & Garden Center, Corey G. Hecht, CFP. Merrill, Trout Glass and Mirror, Vidimos, Inc., Wellsand Landscaping and Hardscapes. Silver Sponsors: Paul Boyter, McColly Real Estate, Centier Bank, Carney Construction, Ellis Electric, Inc., Blue Chip Casino Hotel Spa, CAPTRUST Chesterton, Gary & Mary Lou Carney, Blackrock Real Estate Services, Puntillo & Crane Orthodontics, Judge Thode, The Olson Family, Kirk & Amy Redman, NITCO, Bozovich Wellness Center, Kleckner Interior Systems, Dunes Realty, Global Innovative Solutions, Jodi Gheaja – Realty Executives, Carter Lumber, Biggby Coffee, NIPSCO, Urschel Laboratories, Inc., Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. Bronze Sponsors: John VanDenburgh, Simplex System Controls, The Periodontal Group, Ennis Builders, Martin Binder Jeweler, Glacial Sands Oral, Facial, Implant Surgery, Discovery Charter School, Chris at The Mortgage Exchange, Frontier Electric Supply, Brock Lloyd – Edward Jones. Supporting Sponsors: Edmonds & Evans Funeral Homes and Cremation Service, Dr. Michael & Kathy Uzelac, Endodontics, Inc., RV Sutton Inc., The Waxi Taxi, Meridian Title Corporation, Ronald “Red” Stone, IBEW Local 531, Chesterton Fit Body Bootcamp.

Volunteers Wanted: Are you interested or know someone who’d be a great volunteer dancer for the 2024 Dancing Like the Stars? Email [email protected] to nominate someone from the Duneland Community who is ready to help make a difference! Until next year…see you at the Y!